Playing Hooky

Have you ever taken you child out of school to vacation? Did your parents do that with you as a kid? Is it the right thing to do? Did you really learn anything from it that you wouldn’t have learned from school? This is a curious topic for me. Some people may only pull their kids if the vacation is educational. Other folks might think that every vacation has something to offer in the way of learning. Sure, a trip to Washington D.C. is a no brainer as an educational holiday. What about a trip to the mountains? Doesn’t that offer up geographical significance? You know, you’ve got the mountains, maybe old volcanoes, streams that may be running down the mountain and glaciers at the tops….

How do teachers feel about this? I would love for a teacher to chime in because they see the results once the child gets back to school. Is it dependent on the student? Do some kids never actually catch up from what they lost while away? Maybe some kids come back with new energy to add to the class?

In case you didn’t know, I pulled my kids last year for an entire week to explore the beautiful states of Oregon and Washington. Their teachers seemed less than thrilled but signed the permission slip anyways. My oldest child got homework sent with her that she finished on the airplane and layovers. My middle child didn’t get so lucky and had to receive his work when he returned.

 We explored Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier, Seattle and more. We visited a planetarium where we got an up close experience with the Milky Way using a telescope the size of a truck! Just off the Columbia River Gorge, salmon were in full swing when we visited the salmon ladders and learned about their life cycle. Mt. St. Helens was steaming as we inched closer and closer to the rim. Ice was crashing in the distance while we traversed a glacier on Mt. Rainier. It wasn’t ALL great though. My husband and I learned that no matter how small your kids are and how well that 2 man tent fit into your checked bag, no family can fit into a 2 man tent…..Seriously, just splurge and buy the ultra-light/compact 5 man tent (another lesson in learning the importance of outfitting your family for a great experience).

The best part about the area we visited was that we had family near. We were able to catch up with family that we hadn’t seen in years. They took us through Seattle and snapped a photo of us all adding to the Gum Wall below the Market before it was cleaned up and taken down. My kids had a chance to play with cousins that they had only met once before. It was the perfect trip. The kind of trip that left you planning for your next visit before the airplane even took off!

You know what? I would do it all again! My kids have used the knowledge they learned from that vacation in school last year, this year, and likely years to come. Now it’s your turn. What do you think? Would you pull your children? Have you already? What was your experience?

Thanks for reading!




  • Hi Katy! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    As far as how I plan my vacations…. No, I really don’t plan educational experiences. I’ve been traveling since I was really young and found that if you just plan ventures throughout your vacation, you WILL learn something. With that being said, I browse TripAdvisor and Pinterest for a shameful amount of hours researching fun things to do in each area. I always have a pretty detailed itinerary that’s more flexible once we get there. Our family learned a lot from the salmon ladders that I talked about in the blog and that was a tip from a local as a must see when we got off the airplane in Oregon.

    I think the ease of learning on vacation comes because usually, we are learning as a family. None of us really have the answers so it’s really healthy for the kiddos to see mom and dad still learning new things!

    I’ll say one thing, my kids talk a whole lot more about what we DID over what souvenir they GOT on that trip.

    Sarah -Adventure Family Outfitters-
  • Sounds like you children learned more from your vacation than they would have at school in that week! Tell me, did you pre-plan those learning opportunities as part of your vacation?

    Katy S.

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